NBA Rumors: Why Josh Howard Still Makes Sense for Bulls, Knicks & Teams in Need

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IISeptember 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Josh Howard #5 of the Washington Wizards against the Dallas Mavericks  at the Verizon Center on February 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Josh Howard doesn't have a team yet, but he will soon enough.

There are plenty of teams out there that could use a veteran small forward, even if he still hasn't conclusively proven that he's fully recovered from knee surgery.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, there are quite a few teams interested in acquiring the unrestricted free agent as the 2012-13 season creeps closer:

 

Free agent F Josh Howard, a Winston Salem native, has been working out with Charlotte this week, sources tell Y! CHI, NY amongst interested.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) August 29, 2012

 

HoopsWorld.com's Alex Kennedy adds that the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets are also interested in Howard.

So, why doesn't he have a team yet?

Howard was limited to just 43 games in 2011-12 before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a chip in cartilage, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com. This came just a couple of years after Howard tore his ACL in February 2010 with the Washington Wizards.

Teams aren't hesitant to bring him aboard based solely on that, however.

Ever since a strong three-year stretch from 2006-2009, in which he averaged 19.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 34.7 minutes per game, Howard has struggled.

Some of that can obviously be attributed to injury. It can also be attributed to the fact he's bounced around three teams—including the Dallas Mavericks, the Wizards and the Utah Jazz—since then.

Howard's numbers have been on the decline over the last few years, but that doesn't mean he can't make an impact, especially now he's healthy.

He may not give you 60 starts per year—in fact, over the last three seasons, he's made just 40 starts in total—but he's still good for 20-28 minutes per game. If he's healthy, he can also chip in 12 points and four rebounds off the bench.

More than that, he's been around the block a few times. That's no small benefit to a team like the Charlotte Bobcats, who need all the veteran leadership they can get. Even the Chicago Bulls still have a few missing pieces to fill before Derrick Rose returns to action.

A player like Howard isn't going to break any team's bank at this stage, and if he truly is healthy, he could be a steal. He's dealt with more than his fair share of injuries over the last several years, but at 32, he's not quite done yet. He's not as quick as he once was, and he's nowhere near as effective from long range. However, for teams that are looking for a backup, he's a viable option at the very least.

It's worth it for a team that still has some holes to fill in the backcourt to see just how much Howard has left in him. It's nearly always worth taking a risk on a player who used to be one of the best of the best.